Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, Copa Del Rey
Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane looks on prior the start of the UEFA Champions league Group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on September 18, 2019. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

​Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has defended his team selection following the club’s Copa del Rey quarter-final exit at the hands of Real Sociedad on Thursday night, insisting it was not the wrong line-up despite their 4-3 home defeat.

Zidane had named a strong team with Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema all in from the start. Luka Modric also entered the fray at half-time in place of James Rodriguez when the visitors were leading only 1-0.

Martin Odegaard, on loan from Madrid, came back to haunt his parent club, opening the scoring before young Swedish forward Alexander Isak scored twice to put La Real 3-0 up.

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Marcelo pulled one back, but Mikel Merino made it 4-1, with the visitors managing to hold on to the lead, despite late goals from Rodrygo and Nacho.

Speaking after the game, via the club’s official website, Zidane said: “When I name a team, it’s one that’s capable of going out and doing well.

“It’s easy to offer opinions afterward. I don’t think we got the team wrong, there’s another team involved and they did really well, they opened the scoring and we then struggled. We made mistakes that we don’t usually make, but that was nothing to do with the personnel.

“We’re all in this together, we win together and lose together.”

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Zidane explained that key midfielder Casemiro wasn’t fit, adding: “There were other players out there and we can’t be looking for excuses. We all know what great quality Casemiro has and what he brings to the team, but others played tonight.”

The Frenchman was also adamant that there will be no knee-jerk reaction to the defeat in terms of future team selections.

“Conceding four goals is a lot and it hurts, but that won’t alter anything in terms of my plans to rotate,” Zidane said. “I believe in this group and what we’ve now got to do is lift ourselves and continue to work really hard because this one game won’t change anything.”


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